Guest of Brandon Meriweather charged

Updated: September 14, 2011, 3:22 PM ET
By Roman Modrowski | ESPNChicago.com

The Chicago Bears were not aware that a man had been charged with raping a woman at the home of Brandon Meriweather when the team signed the defensive back and they are looking into the matter, sources told ESPNChicago.com.

The incident occurred this summer in Foxboro, Mass., when Meriweather was still a member of the New England Patriots.

James Roberts, 29, of Biloxi, Miss., was arrested as he drove away from Meriweather's home on Aug. 25, according to Norfolk (Mass.) District Attorney spokesman David Traub. Roberts was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. He was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail, and he made bail after a couple of days.

Meriweather

Meriweather

Roberts and the alleged victim were considered guests in the home.

Police have not said whether Meriweather was at home during the time of the alleged attack, which took place July 13.

"We haven't commented on that," Traub said, "but the allegation that came forward from the alleged victim only involved conduct of the person being charged."

Traub declined to comment on whether Meriweather was questioned during the investigation.

On Wednesday, Meriweather refused to address the situation, except to say that the matter was between Roberts and the alleged victim.

"To be honest, it's a serious matter but that has nothing to do with me," Meriweather told the Chicago Tribune. "I'm going to let them handle that."

He refused to characterize his relationship with Roberts.

"I'll keep that with them," Meriweather said, according to the newspaper. "I don't want to answer no questions about that."

The Patriots cut Meriweather, 27, a two-time Pro Bowl player, on Sept. 3, and the Bears signed him the next day to double the base salary he was originally set to receive this season.

An email sent to Meriweather wasn't immediately returned, and his agent Joby Branion didn't return a call seeking comment.

Meriweather has had brushes with controversy in the past.

He was involved in a 2006 shooting while he attended the University of Miami. Police ruled Meriweather used his gun legally in returning fire after an assailant shot at Hurricanes teammate Willie Cooper as they stood in their yard.

Meriweather, a native of Apopka, Fla, was present during a Feb. 28 shooting in Apopka but was ruled out as a suspect.

Also while attending Miami, Meriweather was involved in an infamous on-field fight with Florida International players.

He was asked Wednesday by the Tribune if he was trying to avoid off-field problems.

"I think it is something you try to get away from," Meriweather said. "Right now, my focus is the Saints."

Roman Modrowski is an editor for ESPNChicago.com. ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright contributed to this report.